Liu Xia - China -
Chinese poet and prominent contemporary artist, Liu Xia, has been under house arrest in Beijing since 2010.
Poet and painter Liu Xia has been under house arrest since her husband, the writer, academic and Honorary President of Independent Chinese PEN Centre, Liu Xiaobo, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Following the announcement of his win in late 2010, many of Liu Xiaobo’s supporters were summoned, detained or restricted from leaving their homes. Fellow signatories to ‘Charter 08’ were specially targeted and placed under stringent watch. Over a year later, Liu Xia remains under house arrest, prohibited to engage with the outside world or publish or exhibit her works in China.
Liu Xia has been a prominent figure in the contemporary Chinese art scene for over three decades. Her work has been banned in China since 1989, even though she was not involved in the pro-democracy demonstrations at Tiananmen Square or the signing of ‘Charter 08’, the liberal manifesto that incited Liu Xiaobo’s 11 year gaol sentence. In supporting her husband’s work and being his spokesperson to the outside world, Liu Xia has been cast out as a symbol of dissidence by the Chinese government. Liu Xia has never been charged publicly for a crime, and authorities have not disclosed legal reasons behind her arrest.
In light of Liu Xia’s plight, curator and French sinologist Guy Sorman has helped bring her work to the attention of the world in the exhibition The Silent Strength of Liu Xia, a collection of 25 black and white photographs Liu Xia produced between 1996 and 1999, during her husband’s sentence in a labour re-education camp. The exhibition features photographs of life-like dolls in a series of sets devised by the artist. These photographs were smuggled out of China before her arrest.
Liu Xia’s situation reflects the broader and concerning human rights situation in China. The continued oppressive actions of Chinese authorities taken against Liu Xia and other writers, artists and bloggers show the dire situation faced by defenders of free speech living in China. Sydney PEN believes that the burgeoning situation of human rights abuses in China requires greater international scrutiny and attention.TAKE ACTION
Please send appeals:
- demanding the immediate and unconditional release of poet and artist Liu Xia, under house arrest in Beijing since 2010 without charge;
- expressing alarm at the crackdown on dissent in which writers, journalists and human rights defenders are amongst those to have been targeted; and
- reminding the Chinese authorities of their obligations under Article 35 of the Chinese constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which it is a state party.
Send appeals to:
His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
Sydney PEN recommends that supporters copy their appeal to the Chinese embassy in Australia, asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments:
His Excellency Mr CHEN YUMING
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
15 Coronation Drive
Yarralumla ACT 2600
Tel: (02) 6273 4780
Fax: (02) 6273 4878
Email: chinaemb_au "at" mfa.gov.cn
HUFFINGTON POST: "China Targets Nobel Peace Prize Winner's Friends" (2010)
COLOMBIA UNIVERSITY NEWS: "On Exhibit: The Silent Strength of Artist Liu Xia" (2012)
VOICE OF AMERICA: "Nobel Laureate's Wife a Prisoner in China as Well" (2011)
THE BROOKLYN RAIL: "Liu Xia: The Silent Strength of Liu Xia" (2012)